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PLOS ONE  2013 

The Emergence of Urban Land Use Patterns Driven by Dispersion and Aggregation Mechanisms

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080309

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We employ a cellular-automata to reconstruct the land use patterns of cities that we characterize by two measures of spatial heterogeneity: (a) a variant of spatial entropy, which measures the spread of residential, business, and industrial activity sectors, and (b) an index of dissimilarity, which quantifies the degree of spatial mixing of these land use activity parcels. A minimalist and bottom-up approach is adopted that utilizes a limited set of three parameters which represent the forces which determine the extent to which each of these sectors spatially aggregate into clusters. The dispersion degrees of the land uses are governed by a fixed pre-specified power-law distribution based on empirical observations in other cities. Our method is then used to reconstruct land use patterns for the city state of Singapore and a selection of North American cities. We demonstrate the emergence of land use patterns that exhibit comparable visual features to the actual city maps defining our case studies whilst sharing similar spatial characteristics. Our work provides a complementary approach to other measures of urban spatial structure that differentiate cities by their land use patterns resulting from bottom-up dispersion and aggregation processes.


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